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Don't Get Caught in Personal Conveyance Traps

Personal conveyanceDON JERRELL
HNI Associate Vice President

For our transportation specialists at HNI, this is one of our favorite times of the year, and it has nothing to do with World Series baseball (Royals heartbreak!) or (epic amounts of leftover) Halloween candy.

We're prepping for our annual Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Wisconsin State Patrol Update at HNI University. We give trucking firms a venue to ask law enforcement officials everything and anything that's been on their minds when it comes to regulations and compliance.

The conversation is lively and candid, and you're invited to this year's installment Nov. 13. Click here to RSVP.

To give you a taste of the topics covered at the event, here's a short Q&A that covers a hot topic from 2013: personal conveyance.

What's the Background on Personal Conveyance, and Why is it Controversial?

There's been a lot of discussion about when a truck driver can use a company vehicle for personal conveyance. And to make sure we're clear, when we talk about personal conveyance, we're talking about the ability to log this time as off duty.

The challenge is that even FMCSA and enforcement personnel are not in agreement.

The intent of personal conveyance is to allow a driver to use a company vehicle for personal use (i.e., go to the truck stop, store, etc). The challenge is determining when this driver is not using this time for the movement of freight or vehicle in commerce.

How are Some Companies Setting Personal Conveyance Rules?

Many firms have stated they only will allow personal conveyance when the driver:

  • Has been relieved from responsibility for equipment
  • Is not performing any activity for carrier, shipper, or receiver
  • Has dropped the trailer at a shipper, receiver, or carrier
  • Is not traveling in the direction of next load (remember that those miles need to be accounted for!)

Even though having dropped the trailer certainly makes a much easier argument for a driver performing personal conveyance, some carriers will allow a driver to transport trailer while on personal conveyance. Things get sticky, as you can imagine, if this driver is stopped by law enforcement.

What Does Law Enforcement Say About Personal Conveyance?

At last year's FMCSA and Wisconsin State Patrol Update, officials from both those agencies told attendees where their heads are at when it comes to personal conveyance.

In short, law enforcement personnel care about whether the driver or company is using personal conveyance to circumvent an 11-,14-, or 70-hour violation. (Yet another reason why you have to know the ins and outs of the Hours of Service!)

If an enforcement officer judges that the personal conveyance exemption is being used to avoid an 11-,14-, or 70-hour violation, then the personal conveyance exemption is not recognized as legit.

What's the Bottom Line?

Make sure your drivers and operations departments are aware of personal conveyance rules and have been properly trained. Penalties related to personal conveyance issues are avoidable!

Are you attending our upcoming FMCSA and Wisconsin State Patrol Update(There's still time to RSVP for the Nov. 12 session; click the button below for details.) What questions would you like answered? Please share in comments and we'll pass them along to our FMCSA and State Patrol speakers!

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Photo by Mad House Photography via Flickr

Topics: Transportation Safety / Compliance